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February 9, 2007

Facebook Gifts & Susan G. Komen for the Cure

Posted by Kevin D. Hendricks | Filed under: Cause Marketing

Facebook gifts that benefit Susan G. Komen for the CureCauses are benefiting from social networking. First there's the MySpace Impact Awards and now Facebook has teamed up with Susan G. Komen for the Cure (formerly the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation) to offer Valentine's Day gifts.

The "gifts" are Valentine's Day themed icons (designed by Susan Kare, who designed the original Mac icons) you can give to another Facebook user to be displayed on their profile (if they so choose). The first gift is free but then gifts are $1 each with at least $0.50 per dollar going to fight breast cancer for the month of February.

If the idea of virtual gifts seems a little intangible and silly then you don't understand social networking sites, especially ones that appeal to young people. It's person-to-person personalization, much like giving someone a ringtone for their cell phone. The gift icons themselves play to the young crowd with Valentine's-related icons that are risqué and goofy (A thong? A sock on a door knob? A roll of toilet paper? A gift-wrapped box with a hole in the side, perhaps a subtle nod to that sex-charged Saturday Night Live rap that your mother wouldn't approve of? What ever happened to such inoffensive SNL skit as the Church Lady or Wayne's World or--nevermind.). There are also icons your mother would approve of, including a puppy, a rose, an Etch-a-Sketch, a lava lamp, etc.

The brilliance of the idea is taking something viral (giving a friend an intangible gift) and tying it to a cause. Suddenly Facebookers are saying 'this looks fun and it's for a good cause' and fork over their $1 (though you have to wonder if the need for a credit card as opposed to something like PayPal will hinder usage among teens).

The partnership with Susan G. Komen for the Cure was a no-brainer. Facebook looked to their members and found that breast cancer awareness had the largest cause-related group on Facebook. It also happened to be the second-largest group on all of Facebook with more than 800,000 members.

With numbers like that it should be little surprise that causes and social networking go together. Everybody wins.

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